September 11th, 2009
Tokyo Yakult Swallows 1
Streak: Lost 6 Last 5: LLLLL
The reeling Tokyo Swallows traveled to Nagoya to take on the slightly uninspiring (recently) Dragons after dropping three in a row against the Carp. To sweeten the deal a little (for Tokyo), Ochiai gave old guy Yamamoto his fourth start of the season. It didn’t matter.
Tokyo’s starting lineup:
1. Fukuchi (LF)
2. Kawashima (SS)
3. Aoki (CF)
4. D’Antona (1B)
5. Guiel (RF)
6. Miyamoto (3B)
7. Tanaka (2B)
8. Aikawa (C)
9. Yuki (P)
Tokyo stranded two runners in the first, and then Wada hit a bases-loaded sac fly in the bottom of that inning to start the scoring and make it 1-0 Chunichi.
The next time the Swallows got a runner on base was in the top of the fourth when Yamamoto’s (a southpaw) delivery stayed up in the zone a little too long and Guiel roped it into the corner in right for a two-out double. However, the inning would come to a close when Miyamoto’s bat broke on contact and he grounded out.
The bottom of the fifth was a little bit ugly for the Swallows. Ibata and Araki had back to back singles with Ibata ending up on third before all was said and done. Morino then hit a pop fly to shallow left-center that Aoki rifled homeward. Kawashima cut it off and sent it home, but Ibata was safe even though Aikawa blocked him in front of the plate. 2-0 Dragons.
With two outs, Yuki pitched around Wada to get to the hitless (0-25 up to that point) Inoue, but it didn’t work. Inoue had a broken-bat, rbi single to left to make it 3-0 Chunichi.
That was the second time in as many innings that Yuki pitched around the man at the plate in order to get to a weaker hitter.
In the top of the sixth, Kawashima hit a one-out home run to left center off of a Yamamoto fastball that wasn’t really all that fast to put the score at 3-1 Chunichi.
It was Kawashima’s 11th homer of the season, and hopefully just the first bit of good work he’ll do to redeem himself after losing that game against Yomiuri last week.
Matsui (5.40) came in to pitch the bottom of the seventh and gave up one hit but got out of the inning on 10 pitches.
Kida (5.48) pitched the eighth for Tokyo, and he got out of the inning with three straight ground balls to Miyamoto at third base.
The Swallows last chance, the top of the ninth, didn’t go very well for the birds with Iwase on the mound looking to earn his 38th save of the year.
After Aoki and D’Antona led off with no out singles, Guiel popped out in foul territory and Miyamoto broke his second bat of the game for out number two. Tanaka then flew out to right to end the game. 3-1 Final.
The Swallows hit a whole bunch of fly balls in this game with 14 of their 27 outs being recorded in that fashion. Hidenori did a very good job in center field of tracking stuff down, but just as often the ball was unluckily hit right to the fielder.
One through five in the lineup reached base at least once, and Aoki (BB and a single), D’Antona (two singles), and Guiel (double and a BB) all reached twice. Six through eight, however, didn’t do any damage to help out. Miyamoto, as I mentioned earlier, was unlucky to break two bats though.
Yuki threw 120 pitches in his six innings of work, and while he didn’t have a particularly bad game, he wasn’t exactly dominating either. He gave up three earned runs off of five hits while striking out five and walking six. Two of those walks were intentional, but the remaining four show that he didn’t have his best control this evening. His record worsened to 3-5 while his ERA fattened a little to 3.69.
That’s six losses in a row for the Swallows. The circus continues tomorrow afternoon (3 PM) at Nagoya Dome.